SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
It’s that time of year again. Yes, one can see the festive colors of the Christmas markets, advertising sales and even sports teams colors on the day of the Big Game.
But there’s another set of colors to pay extra attention to: the collective ones that make up ROADCONs.
ROADCONs, or Road Conditions, are a set of color-themed assessments for corresponding levels – green, amber, red and black – of traffic safety both on-base and within the Eifel community.
“The program exists to ensure we keep the wing safe and save lives,” Staff Sgt. Andrew Lehman, 52nd Security Forces Squadron operations NCO. “If we subcategorize these different colors and categories of what the road conditions can be, it makes it simpler and helps unit commanders and different group commanders.”
HOW IT WORKS
Lehman said 52nd SFS patrolmen will drive around and on the installation factoring in visibility and the condition of the roads between midnight and 2 a.m. They can make determinations later in the day depending upon changing weather.
“They’ll take into account every single town where everyone lives and look at all the roads,” Lehman said. “They even test the roads by driving on them to make sure if they are icy.”
Patrolmen will take all these factors into consideration and notify their control center of their assessment. They also contact German Polizei for accident reporting within the past six hours for consideration, Lehman said.
“If an accident occurs, they may go up a road condition to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
The flight chief will conduct a multi-level phone call with command post and other base agencies to submit a final recommendation for a ROADCON and/or accompanying delay to the 52nd Mission Support Group commander or their designee. This deliberation usually occurs when many Sabers are still asleep.
Lehman said the responsibility to make a judgment call that can affect lives and the wing’s mission can be burdensome, but it’s one from which he and his fellow patrolmen do not shirk.
“You want to know you can make the right decision,” Lehman said. “I believe myself and the rest of the Defenders within our unit know it is their job and duty, and I believe they can make the best determination.”
ROADCON GREEN means normal driving for all vehicles. Operations will continue as normal and all base services are open. Personnel will report as normal.
This will account for driving conditions for the vast majority of the calendar year. This is not to discount potential hazards drivers may still encounter – oil spills, inattentive driving, wildlife, construction, etc. – and drivers are still advised to exercise caution on the roads.
ROADCON AMBER means roads are moderately hazardous and drivers must exercise caution. Operations will continue as normal and base services are open. Delays must be coordinated with supervisors.
“It’s more of a moderate threat, and we urge people to exercise extreme caution,” Lehman said. “If there is anything that may affect within your village, coordinate with your supervisors.”
Most on-base services will be open and on time during ROADCON AMBER. However, services like the bowling center, Music Video Express, outdoor recreation, community center, pet lodge and Installation, Tickets and Travel may experience delays.
In all circumstances, mission-essential base services like lodging and the dining facility will be on time and open but may be subject to limited manning or services.
For example, the dining facility may experience minimum manning under both ROADCONS RED and BLACK, and may only offer Grab & Go services under ROADCON BLACK. Additionally, lodging will suspend linen services under ROADCON BLACK, although on-site laundry facilities exist for patrons until services resume.
ROADCON RED means the roads are very hazardous and drivers must exercise extreme caution. Delays must be coordinated with supervisors and personnel should report to duty only when safe to do so.
ROADCON RED may be delayed in accordance with the wing commander’s decision for a two-hour delay or a decision for work mission-essential personnel only or a potential early release.
“At the end of the day, no one wants anything bad to happen, an accident to occur, anyone hurt or lives lost,” Lehman said. “When they do this, it keeps everyone safe.”
ROADCON BLACK means roads are extremely dangerous and drivers should not be on the roads. Operations are canceled and base services are closed during this road condition.
“No POV should be allowed on the road,” Lehman said. “If they are, they must exercise extreme caution if you have to drive a vehicle.”
For more information on current ROADCONs, call DSN 452-COPS (2677) or Commercial 06565-61-COPS (2677) for an automated phone tree. You can also access the current road conditions on the Spangdahlem Air Base website under “Quick Links.”
“If all other means have failed and you can’t make the determination whether or not to get on the road, be sure you’re making the best judgment,” Lehman said. “Use your logic and ensure you’re being safe.”